ABUJA – Senator Ken Nnamani has alerted on the need for Nigerians to rise at all times to confront and overcome obstacles that constitutes a threat to the nation’s well being and democracy, saying many such challenges still lay ahead.
Speaking at the launch of his book, Standing Strong, which chronicled his stewardship at the 5th National Assembly and especially the climatic Third Term saga, Nnamani said the country has urgent need to not only build strong institutions but also raise forthright leaders to drive these institutions.
According to him, Nigeria must endeavor to “strengthen the institutions of democracy and ensure that the democratic gains aren’t lost in an ugly power struggle” adding that leaders must demonstrate eternal vigilance if the nation must protect its fledgling democracy and liberty.
“My overriding message today is that institution matters. But leadership matters most. We need to focus on building the strongest and most resilient institutions of democracy and development.
“We need to have the best-in-class institutions since economic and social development turns mostly on the quality of institutions”.
Alluding to happening along Africa’s west coast Senator Nnamani noted that
“crafty autocrats can rob these institutions of meaning and use them against democracy and development” if leaders are weak.
He reminisced that the bid to extend President Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency beyond the constitutional limit failed largely due his insistence on due process which he said, is at the heart of rule of law and democracy.
Senator Nnamani also applauded the role of the media, noting the live broadcast of the activities of the senate during that crucial debate elicited Public interest and buying in that was needed for elected representatives to do the right.
According to him the coordinated leadership of the national assembly did the magic on the Third Term debate.
“Our future depends on how we build great institutions and match them with great leadership. The experience of the Third Term saga illustrates how a combination of good institutions and good leadership can save a people during political turbulence.
“It is often said that the heart of constitutional democracy is representation. Where the legislature is strong and truly representative, the people are protected against authoritarian impulses that often characterize public leadership. Where the legislature is weak and captured by special interests, the bulwark against autocracy is easily dismantled.
Nigeria’s constitution positions the National Assembly as a pillar of democracy”.
He said that on the day he struck the gavel to defeat Third Term in 2006, the nation overcame an obstacle that made possible the successful transfer of power to an opposition party in 2015, and commended former President Goodluck Jonathan and his successor, President Mohammadu Buhari for their roles.
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